Being creative in the box

“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.” – Brene Brown

How many times have you heard this statement in your life? “On this issue, we have to think outside the box”. So when we have a specific problem that we don’t have any solutions for, the best course of action is to think outside the box. Obviously, the idea there is needing to get creative and find a new direction to a problem. What happens when you can’t find a solution by thinking outside the box? By thinking and being more creative? What do you do then?

Have you ever thought about being creative inside the box? I’d be willing to bet that you have never thought of it way. I’d be willing to bet that you have never thought of it that way. I got this idea back in September to start a 30-day challenge of thinking inside the box. For the challenge, I had to shoot a video each day and post it. The box I created for myself was solely using my iPhone for my challenges. I could only shoot the videos and edit the videos on my iPhone as well as the days’ video idea would come from the word press prompt of the day. Talk about a box that’s in a box.

I learned many, many things about how to just shut up and get work done. The creative process of posting every day and only using these simple tools actually made it harder but in the end, I found that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have” – Maya Angelou

Let’s bring this back to a problem that you might be facing. Think about a problem that you don’t have a solution to you and that you’ve  thought long and hard about, maybe even got creative but you still can’t find a solution. Maybe the solution is right in front of you and you’ve just been overthinking it. Over-thinking everything is something that I’m incredibly skilled at. I can overthink so much that it eventually becomes procrastination and I don’t get anything done. Is it possible that you’re over thinking the problem and that while you’re getting creative outside the box really you’re just procrastinating? I can’t answer that because that’s something you need to look at internally…are you really getting creative or are you just procrastinating?

“Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.” – Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss once said it’s more important to be effective than efficient. It still applies to being creative inside the box because you’re freed up inside the box and you are being more effective versus just being efficient. I gave you an example about how I got creative inside the box regarding how I only allow myself to shoot the videos on my iPhone. For example, only edited them on my iPhone, they had to be a minute long and the idea had to come from some random word that I would have no idea of what it was until that day. This required me to be more effective than efficient but that’s the cool part. By being effective and just getting it done, I also became efficient. See how they can be one in the same?

Let’s use a different example, shall we? The version of the blog post that you are reading has been edited multiple times by multiple people. But could you have guessed that this started as a dictation or another word voice to text while I was driving from club to club? If you’d seen the very first version of this you could tell that it was my words going to the “paper” by voice to text. This is probably the best example of how not to be efficient on how to write a blog post. Once I record this from voice to text I have to edit it over and over again because it’s not voice to text is not a perfect system. Want to know what the best part it? The best part of this system is this is the most effective way to get the thoughts onto the page. This is the example of me being creative inside the box. I don’t have time to go sit at a coffee shop and spend hours upon hours writing my ideas down.

“There is a direct correlation between an increased sphere of comfort and getting what you want.” – Tim Ferriss

So I ask you again how can you be creative inside the box? How can you be more effective instead of being more efficient? Take a moment to let these ideas sink in. Take a moment to think about how to approach a problem you’ve been struggling with. Now stop thinking and start acting!

Why I journal in the morning…

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” Christina Baldwin

Remember when you used to write a journal every day in school? You used to write in your journal because it was a good way to get your thoughts on paper. Why did we stop doing that? I know for most of us guys, we never really wanted to put our feelings or our thoughts down on paper. The problem with putting our thoughts on paper usually makes the feelings real. Just like telling someone your thoughts and feelings about politics or disclosing to someone how you feel about them, it makes it more real. Journaling has that same effect but instead of looking at it in a negative way, we look at it in a positive way.

Everything that you see that I’m doing now–writing my blog, “Living in the moment like my three-year-old”, participating in thirty-day challenges, all of it stems from journaling. If we rewind the tape to 18 months ago, I had just started journaling. I got some advice to start journaling because it was a good way to get your thoughts on paper. To get your thoughts outside of your head. If you know me, you know that I’m an overthinker. I think about almost every possibility and every scenario before I act. Most people would say that that’s a good thing because you’re being thoughtful and you think about your actions before you do them, but for me, it was actually a negative because I would get lost in my thoughts. Not only would I get lost in my thoughts, I would lose sleep because of those thoughts.

Now let’s be honest… these weren’t positive or negative thoughts only, they were just things that I was thinking about. These things could be anything from the micro (right now), like what I was going to have for dinner that night or for breakfast the next day. The macro (future), where I think about where my kids are going to go to daycare or what college they are going to go to. Yes, I know that sounds crazy seeing as my kids are under four years old, but I actually was thinking about where they’re going to go to college. Yes, that would keep me up at night because it is one of the most important decisions as parents we can help them make as children. But I digress back to why I started journaling.

“This pouring thoughts out on paper has relieved me. I feel better and full of confidence and resolution.” Diet Eman, Things We Couldn’t Say

The brightest and most successful people in the world journal and they also meditate. If you’ve been following along you know that I started meditating about the same time I started journaling. I would meditate and then I would journal afterward. If you want to read more about meditating and why I do it check out this post. Since William was born the meditating has taken a back seat but journaling is the thing that has stuck. What works best for me is to journal five days a week and skip weekends. That’s just what works for me because when I wake up in the mornings on the weekends, it’s time with my boys.  

I skip the weekends because they’re up before me usually and I don’t have time for it. It’s an excuse but at the end of the day you’ve got to find things that work for you that you’ll always do. Again, I digress back to the a.m. journals. Tim Ferris says he likes to journal because it keeps his monkey mind at bay. I agree with this because we all have many thoughts throughout the day and we just don’t have enough time to get to them all. For me, the biggest thing is I know I need to journal because of all the thoughts stop me from doing the things that I have to do. This is a way for me to keep on task. Journaling in the morning gets all the things that I’ve been thinking about overnight down on paper. All the things that I should be doing in the day. All the things that I should be doing for work. Think about all the things that I just listed. Does anybody have enough time in the day to think about that and get things done? Not at all. These are my unconscious thoughts that are weighing on my decision-making, weighing on your decision-making, I found a way not to think about them.

“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do” – Tim Ferriss

Like I said, someone like me who overthinks things this really helps get my ideas out. Now I might not meditate every day anymore but I still journalling every day. It’s about 5 to 10 minutes worth of writing in the morning while sipping on my lemon water and or coffee. Everything that I just explained about getting my thoughts out there on paper, clearing my head, calming my monkey mind, takes up the first third of my journal each day.

The second third of the journal, and honestly the most important is the middle third of the journal where I pick five things that I am grateful for. I’m sure you’re asking yourself, why does that matter? Well, think about it, when s*#% hits the fan when things are not going your way when everything feels like life is stacked against you. It doesn’t seem all bad because you remember what you’re grateful for. Being able to think back on all the things that you’re grateful for, truly grateful for, makes those negative things not seem so bad. Think about it…if you get in a car accident well maybe you’re grateful that you’re still alive. Maybe you’re grateful that you get to get a new car because the old one was a piece of crap. If you know me this can sound like a glass half-full, an attempt to make positives out of a negative take on things which it is to a point. But the bad moments in life don’t seem so bad when you can recognize the things that are going right now. I usually pick 3 to 5 things that I am grateful for. Usually, there is simple as being grateful for my family having a roof over our heads having food on our table. That’s what I am grateful for. As long as I have those things, nothing else matters in my life. Nothing is as bad as it seems.

The final third of my journal is usually a little mantra to remind myself of some things that I’m working on personally. I’m gonna share a few of those things with you now because I think that it’s worthwhile. The one thing that I always write every single morning is “be in the moment”. Now those of you that know me know that I might not always be good at that but that’s why I tell myself every single morning to practice being in the moment. The second part I’ve also changed and a little bit which is these days I tell myself to be aware of how my actions are being perceived. Now, it’s your turn. Start journaling today. You’ll thank me later!

Live in the moment… Like a toddler!

Don’t like to read then watch the trailer above! Or click here… The post below is the talk. The video and upcoming videos are the walk. Please follow along!

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t). -James Baraz

That first sentence really hits home with me because I see it every day with my oldest son. He doesn’t play with his cars hoping that he can do something else when he gets bored. He plays and focuses on what’s right before him. Parents can identify with this idea because they see their kids go from angels to demons in a split second. They see their children be fixated on whatever is in front of them. The second part of that quote applies to our experience with children as well. They do a great job of enjoying the pleasant but they do freak out when that changes. When we tell them they cannot play anymore because it’s time to go to bed. Another example is when you tell your children they can not have dessert before dinner. There is a momentary freakout. The beautiful thing with how kids see the world is usually that freak out is momentary. They move on much quicker than us adults. The last part of the quote is another great takeaway. As adults, we know that most unpleasant things will pass. Hell, we even tell our children that their freakout will be over soon enough. Once they eat their peas they can have their dessert. The real question is, why don’t we take our own advice?

How can we live in the moment like our children? Do you know what that even means? While you’re reading this are you paying attention to these words or are you focused on something else? If you’re focused on something else then maybe read this another time. You’ll miss the point and that’s ok.

Better yet you’re still reading this so you’re starting to get the point. If you’ve never noticed your child playing then this will be news to you. Their imaginations are so great that the only thing that matters is the car they’re playing with right now or picture they’re drawing right now. When was the last time you were that focused on the moment?

Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

To answer that question for yourself, think back to your wedding day or the birth of your first child. Can you remember each moment precisely? Can you relive that moment again? Those were layups. Those are the moments that you are completely engulfed in your life. What about the other times in life that are much smaller? Those are just as important.

Watching Peyton Manning’s farewell speech once he decided to retire he said something to the effect, “Pay attention to the small things because when you look back on your life the small things are usually the big things”. That still resonates with me today. That high five from a teammate while working out. The hug from your child when you walk in the door from a long day at work. The kiss goodbye with your spouse before you go and attack the day. These are the moments in life that should not be routine. Once they become routine they become automatic. Once they become automatic you’re never really tapping into your inner super-hero. Kids live this way.

Good or bad, kids are able to live in the moment. For the moment because they do not know better. That’s why it takes work for us adults. We have too much on our mind to focus on the little things or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves that we should be doing something else. We tell ourselves that we should be focused on something else. Does your kid ever say, “hmm maybe I should be drawing right now instead of playing with my cars”? No, they do not say that. They are engulfed in what they’re currently doing.

The practice of mindfulness begins in the small, remote cave of your unconscious mind and blossoms with the sunlight of your conscious life, reaching far beyond the people and places you can see. -Earon Davis

Is it ever a bad thing to be completely in the moment? If you’re still reading this by now then you know the answer. NO! It’s never a bad thing to be completely engulfed in the moment. The question is how do you become more engulfed in the moment. Yes, meditation works. Yes, slowing your breathing and focusing on your breath works. No, that’s not what I am recommending. Those both work and if you read my posts before you know they work because you’ve tried them. Mindfulness is just that, being mindful of what you’re currently doing. Not focused on what you could be doing. Not being focused on what you should be doing. Mindfulness is about choices. It’s about choosing to be live in the now. So, put your phone down and pay attention to the little things before life passes you by. The email can wait. The tweet can wait. The only thing that matters is what you’re choosing to do now. Right now. Here’s the mantra that I tell myself every morning:  Be in the moment. Be present in the moment. Be patient in the moment.

Great Quote

Are you ready to pass the Test of life?

September 30, 2016, Day 30 Vlog Challenge word Test

I made it! I challenged myself to post a video a day for 30 days using the daily prompt as the basis for the videos. It was a personal challenge. A personal test. This was about me being able to be creative in a box that I created. It was about me finding a better me. The thing that I want you to take away from my personal test, my personal challenge is to face life tests head on. Tackle those challenges. Those tests. Don’t hesitate but take them on completely. Don’t worry about what will happen once you’ve completed the test. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen during the test. Just push through and when you do you’ll find a better you. The best you. Thanks for following along and see you when I see you!

Click here for the video on YouTube!

Our emotional Facade is for our own protection…

September 29, 2016, Day 29 Vlog challenge word Facade

If you’ve been following along or watched the first few videos then you know I’m doing this challenge for me. I’m doing it to get over myself. To get over my own emotional facade. Most people put up their facade to protect themselves against other people’s words. Other outside sources of anguish. In reality, your emotional facade is for your own protection. Now that idea is out there don’t listen to your mind when it’s telling you I’m wrong. Some people are mentally aware enough that they’ve already rebuilt their facade. They’ve already found themselves. To rebuild your emotional facade you need to start with the first brick and start there. Be ready to go brick by brick. Layer by layer.

To rebuild your emotional facade you need to start with the first brick and start there. Be ready to go brick by brick. Layer by layer. Through the hard work, you’ll be able to rebuild your emotional facade. Now that’s beautiful. Tune in tomorrow for the last day of this challenge.

Leave a comment if you have an idea on which way I should go next!

Click here for the video on YouTube!Click here for the video on YouTube!

What happened to agree to Disagree?


September 28, 2016, Day 28 Vlog Challenge word Disagree

What ever happened to people agreeing to disagree? Think about it. When you say that to someone you are showing their thought or opinion the respect it deserves. These days we’re more in the space of disagree to disagree. We’ve stopped listening to each other. The next time you find yourself in a conversation stop thinking about your next rebuttal. Start listening.

The key isn’t that you change your mind. The key is your listening to the other person. Who cares if you agree or disagree with that person’s opinion. Just listen. Then maybe next time you can agree to disagree. See you tomorrow.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube!

Don’t leave conversations Unfinished

September 27, 2016, Vlog challenge word Unfinished
Today is my wife’s and I eighth wedding anniversary and it got me thinking and reminiscing about the last eight years. We’ve been through a lot together and the one thing that has got us through all the tough times is we never leave conversations unfinished. We always like to put it out there about how we feel about any situation so that we never leave things unfinished. I’d be willing to bet that right now you’re thinking about the things that are unfinished in your life. The unfinished conversations that you should’ve had yesterday. The unfinished business that you should’ve taken care of yesterday.

Don’t wait to finish your unfinished business until tomorrow do it today. See you tomorrow.

Click here for the video on YouTube!

When you have a Dilemma don’t choose the easy answer!

September 26, 2016, Day 26 Vlog Challenge word Dilemma

Think back to a time when you had a real dilemma in your life. Think about it. I bet you there was the correct choice and the incorrect choice. Who cares if you chose correct choice. More than likely the correct choice was the more difficult path but you chose it anyway. Most times the easy answer or easy path is the incorrect path.

That’s your take away today. The next dilemma you face, think about the choices you have. The right choice. The correct one will most likely be the harder path. That’s the fun part. When you go through that obstacle you’ll be a better you. Who knows you may find the best you. See you tomorrow.

Click here for the video on YouTube!

Don’t Pretend to care

September 25th, 2016, Day 25 Vlog Challenge word Pretend

THANK YOU to all those who donated the last month. I woke up full of appreciation and gratitude for what amazing support we saw yesterday at our first annual charity event benefiting Project Sanctuary. We raised over $30,000 for Project Sanctuary! It got me thinking about how people talk the talk when it comes to supporting great causes. They pretend to care. They pretend to support things they believe in. That’s your challenge. Start walking the walk. Stop pretending and start supporting the causes closest to your heart!

That’s your challenge. Start walking the walk. Stop pretending and start supporting the causes closest to your heart! We’re just one person but if each of us pretends less and starts acting then the world will be a better place! See you tomorrow!

Click here for the video on YouTube!

Do you find peace while others find Panic?

September 24th, 2016, Vlog Challenge word Panic

It’s the day of our event, the FT Games, which is a fundraiser for Project Sanctuary. It’s a great veterans charity that supports the veteran and their family. The program starts with a six-day retreat and then two years of follow-up for whatever they need. With all that pressure we should be in a panic, but I’m in a great mood. Do you want to know why? We’ve got an unbelievable team that has checked all the boxes and has everything under control.

We’ve got an unbelievable team that has checked all the boxes and has everything under control. That’s why I’m sharing. This is an awesome charity that you should check out and support if you can but not only that. This type of pressure cooker that should induce panic in the entire team but it doesn’t happen because you have a team of rockstars. See you tomorrow.

Check out the video on YouTube!